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Run On: Episode 11

Our leads are solid, exploring their new relationship with all the joy and freedom of two young semi-employed folks. Things aren’t going so smoothly for the chaebol princess and her erstwhile artist, though, as he tries to keep his distance, and she tries to figure out why getting the space she craved is so disappointing.

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

Mi-joo waits for Sun-kyum to call. She gets paid for her recent interpreting gig, so she turns down her friend’s offer of a tutoring job, but her loan repayment automatically deducts from her bank account, so she calls her friend back to accept. Too real.

Sun-kyum, having promised Woo-shik he’ll get him back on his feet (literally and figuratively), takes him to eat at his grandma’s friend’s restaurant.

Sun-kyum doesn’t pressure Woo-shik, but says they’ll come up with a rehab plan that he can fit around his cleaning schedule, building up again from the basics. He tells Woo-shik not to train without him.

Woo-shik admits he didn’t want to work with Sun-kyum because he seems strict. Sun-kyum tells him to stop being so formal and call him “Hyung.” Woo-shik is reluctant, but Sun-kyum says he won’t be so strict, and Woo-shik immediately caves. Sun-kyum: “I lied.”

Ye-joon notices that Young-hwa is down and takes him out for drinks. He asks if the problem is the commission or his assignment, but deduces from Young-hwa’s expression that it’s both. They reflect that they know each other too well, after twenty years.

They’re both applying for a competitive two-month study abroad program, and Young-hwa asks Ye-joon to pray for him—just add another name to his list. Ye-joon complains grumpily that Young-hwa doesn’t actually know him at all.

Sun-kyum puts together a rehab program for Woo-shik, feeling sad as he thinks about how difficult it is for him to run now. Young-hwa comes in, drunk and handsy, and Sun-kyum escapes to the rooftop to answer Mi-joo’s call.

She’s right outside the building, and they wave to each other. He runs down to her, and Mi-joo says to herself that his smiles will be the death of her. Me too, girl.

As they walk, he asks why she came, and she rambles about it being on her way, but he cuts in that she must have missed him. She retorts that he shouldn’t get ahead of himself. “I missed you,” he says. She says he should have called, but he says he didn’t want to disturb her. He says he’s working on something that he needs her help with, but he’s not ready to show her yet.

He tells her he writes in his journal every night, surprising her—he’s gotten hooked. Mi-joo says she never really kept one, except as homework. She never had anything important to say about her life, and she worried it might turn into a confession rather than a journal entry: “I was a bad kid.”

Mi-joo stops walking and apologizes for earlier, when she told him not to get ahead of himself. Instead of being straightforward, she keeps being sarcastic with him, and she’s not proud of it. He looks at her with heart eyes, and offers his hand to hold. They walk into the night, saying sweet things to each other. Sigh.

Young-hwa asks Sun-kyum to bring him a flash drive he forgot. On campus, Sun-kyum runs into Tae-woong, who recognizes him immediately. Sun-kyum asks why he’s getting in his way, and Tae-woong says he hates his existence, but it’s not personal—he feels that way about all athletes.

Before Sun-kyum can escape, they run into Tae-woong’s nemesis, an underground rapper who’s also a student here. A crowd gathers, and Tae-woong pleads for Sun-kyum to help. Sun-kyum grabs his arm and they dash away. Young-hwa sees them speed past and joins the crowd following them.

They all duck into a stairwell. Young-hwa starts getting on Tae-woong’s case about unfollowing him on Instagram, but the idol’s having trouble breathing, and passes out. They take him to the hospital.

When Tae-woong wakes, his first question to Young-hwa is why Dan-ah came to see him, ignoring the revelations that Sun-kyum paid his hospital bill and Young-hwa carried him there on his back. Young-hwa calls him out for being so informal in his speech, but Tae-woong says he learned Korean late and no one corrected him. His grumpy attitude flips completely when Young-hwa asks for an autograph for his friend, though.

Young-hwa runs into Mi-joo on his way home, and helps her carry her groceries. She comments that his way of speaking is similar to Sun-kyum’s—perhaps that’s why they’re friends. Mi-joo invites Young-hwa in for coffee, and remembering how he’d seen Sun-kyum’s car parked here, deduces that Sun-kyum moved in with Young-hwa because he lives near Mi-joo.

Young-hwa ends up confiding in Mi-joo about Dan-ah. He says that painting has always been his one passion, which he fell into even more deeply once he got to university. He hasn’t had a lot of experience with people. He compares his relationship with Dan-ah to art that can only be seen from an in-between distance—which he hated, so he ruined it. He admits it’s immature.

Mi-joo says Dan-ah didn’t behave too well, either. He wonders if he should act like more of a professional, but Mi-joo says it’s more adult to admit where you went wrong.

Mae-yi asks Mi-joo to translate a horror movie that her distribution company is re-importing to Korea. Mae-yi did the initial translations ten years ago, but looking at them now makes her cringe. Mi-joo is reluctant to mix work with friendship, and asks for some time to think.

Sun-kyum asks Mi-joo to join him for a half-marathon, though she can run the 10K course instead. He’s applied as an instructor, since he’s temporarily filling in for Coach Bang. She plans to wear the shoes he gave her, and he says he wonders how they’ll wear out—a shoe tells so much about a person’s profession, their emotions and energy.

She gives him a book as a present in exchange. It’s about learning to love yourself, a callback to his earlier confession that he never learned how. Aw. He promises he’ll read it.

Young-hwa waits at Dan-ah’s agency. She says she can spare him ten minutes. She says she made a mistake, and he asks if she’s apologizing. But no; he was thinking of her as a regular person again. “Don’t,” she says. “Have any thoughts, expectations, sentiments or disappointments about me.” He replies that he won’t.

Her mistake was not giving him the contract she offers now, one she’s had drawn up for “any vending machine,” and he scoffs that he must’ve had some hope left after all. She asks if he likes her. He admits he did, but that’s over—he ended it. He signs a contract to finish in three weeks, accepting all her terms, and agrees that it’s her painting, not his.

Sun-kyum takes Mi-joo with him to coach the track and field team, and they pick up Woo-shik on the way. The kids are excited to see both Sun-kyum and Woo-shik. Mr. Jung calls to ask Mi-joo for a meeting with Dan-ah, which is how she finds out that Dan-ah is sponsoring the marathon.

Mi-joo and Woo-shik watch Sun-kyum train the kids, and Woo-shik apologizes for not even opening the exam prep book she bought him. She tells him to sell it to someone who needs it. She asks if he needs another goal to motivate him, now that Sun-kyum, who Woo-shik had named as his inspiration, has retired.

He says Sun-kyum will still motivate him, along with Grandma. Mi-joo reflects that it’s a heavy responsibility to be someone’s role model—like Woo-shik is for these kids. He smiles.

Sun-kyum takes Woo-shik for a run after practice, getting Mi-joo to film it so that he can analyze Woo-shik’s movements.

Dan-ah’s father tells her to let “Oppa” Myung-min host her charity marathon, and she’s rightfully outraged. He says it’s for the sake of the company’s image and won’t take no for an answer.

Mi-joo arrives early for her meeting with Dan-ah, carrying food for Mr. Jung and worried over the scratches on his hand—not caused by Dan-ah, as Mi-joo hilariously wondered, but his completely adorable cat. They bond over kitty pictures, and smiling Mr. Jung is too cute.

When Dan-ah arrives, Mi-joo calls her out for abusing her power by making her come here to register in person for the run. Dan-ah reflects that she must have been punished by having the same done to her earlier. Dan-ah keeps asking about Mi-joo’s relationship to Sun-kyum, but Mi-joo doesn’t bite.

She tells Dan-ah that she’s running because she was always the recipient of charitable events like this. Now, for the first time, she can contribute. Dan-ah asks about Mi-joo’s upbringing—she’s had a rough childhood, but she’s not mean, and she’s gutsy despite her lack of connections.

“I was very clear about what I needed. If I couldn’t have it, I wasn’t greedy for it. If I still wanted, I satisfied myself with something similar, even if it was fake,” replies Mi-joo. Dan-ah says that everything she had was taken away. Its all relative—in her world, she’s the weak one, so she keeps her walls high out of self-preservation.

Mi-joo asks Dan-ah to stop sharing her innermost feelings with her; they’re not that close. Dan-ah claims she never has, and Mi-joo sighs at this lack of self-awareness. She tells Dan-ah that they should both relax a little, for their own sakes.

Mi-joo brings Sun-kyum to Mae-yi’s office theater after hours for a movie date. After they finish it, Mi-joo says she’s been asked to translate this one—the original subtitles are ten years old, and words are always dying out and being created. Sun-kyum notes that the movie said something similar. Mi-joo responds that other things are disappearing too; many say AI will soon make translators obsolete.

She’s resigned to the idea of machines replacing us, but Sun-kyum says there are things that only humans can do. She thinks athletics is one, but Sun-kyum tells her that athletic events disappear for a different reason: no one is interested.

When he quit running, he’d though it was gone from his life, but he’s not only attached to what he used to run in pursuit of; he’s excited about the things he still wants to run after.

She says that’s how she feels about the movie they just watched. “Don’t disappear,” she tells him. “Stay with me.” He promises to always be with her. He asks if she’ll translate the movie that reminds her of him. They play adorably with each other for a while. (I definitely rewatched that scene a few times.)

Dan-ah moons over Young-hwa Young-hwa’s paintings, sullenly going along with the handover of her charity event to her brother.

Mr. Jung relays that Young-hwa is ready for her feedback on the painting, and Dan-ah comments that it feels weird that he’s so obedient. She makes Mr. Jung smile for her. This man needs a raise, or a vacation.

Dan-ah summons Young-hwa to her office, where she has a blank canvas set up, and tells him to paint. He’s flabbergasted, but he starts.

She watches intently for a while, then tells him to smile for her. He replies that she’d told him before to stop smiling at her. Now, if she wants to see him smile, she should give him a reason.

She says this must be the real him, the dark and rude self she saw in his paintings, but he tells her to give up if she can’t make him smile. She smiles big at him, stunned and annoyed when it doesn’t work. Oh, Dan-ah.

Finally, she confesses, “My desire for your painting and my desire to see you contradict each other. Even if Monet or Picasso were alive, I’d have chosen you, because I liked…your painting. Not you.”

Belying her words, she asks if it’s really over, and asks him not to end it. He asks frustratedly why she’s being so childish. Has he grown on her?

She kisses him.

“I guess you have,” she says. “I guess behind your painting, it was you.”

 
COMMENTS

Ahhhh when was the last time a secondary couple was as good as the main couple?! Writer Park Shi-hyun is a former assistant to Kim Eun-suk; this is her first drama as the head writer. While I much prefer Park’s style to Kim’s, I can certainly see some of that DNA in Run On’s deliciously crafted dialogue and two strong, separate lovelines rather than one love polygon. That was a great final scene, building on the tension and yearning and anger and sadness that’s been building since their big confrontation. All this time, it’s been Young-hwa wearing his heart on his sleeve and openly showing his affection. Dan-ah only recognized how much she was enjoying his company once it became unavailable to her. Mi-joo keeps protesting that she doesn’t want to be Dan-ah’s friend, but she functionally already is, and she was right on with her observation about Dan-ah’s inability to read her own emotions.

Dan-ah kept referring to Young-hwa’s earlier attempts to reach her as bothersome. It was fun to watch her slowly realize that what she called a nuisance, an interruption of her precious time, was actually giving all of that time meaning. We saw her eventual “aha” moment happen in real time at the end of the episode, as she immediately negated her declaration that she desired Young-hwa’s painting, not him, with a plea for him not to stop liking her. She suddenly understood that her love for Young-hwa’s art is completely wrapped up in her fascination with him, a truth I think he picked up on from the beginning, which is probably why he fell for her so quickly. As entertaining as Prickly Dan-ah can be, I’m so excited to see her letting down some of her walls with people who deserve it. I can tell that she and Mi-joo, too, are going to become great friends despite themselves.

Speaking of which, that’s one of the things that gives me continuous enjoyment about this show: there’s this entire cast of interesting characters, and we keep getting new and fascinating combinations of them in every episode. Unlike many a drama, which keeps recycling interactions between combinations of the same main four people, and keeps the ensemble cast tied to particular settings, Run On feels so much more organic. We get realistic details most dramas would omit, which—no accident I’m sure—often makes it feel more like film than TV. Characters cross in and out of each others’ lives in entertaining and informative ways. Case in point: Mr. Jung and Mi-joo looking at cat pictures and Dan-ah interrupting them. Whenever I think the show has exhausted its possibilities, it gives me something new and wonderful, like the hilarious intersection of Tae-woong, Young-hwa and Sun-kyum. Or every scene of Sun-kyum encouraging and caring for Woo-shik, who loves him just as fiercely and constantly teases him for being old.

Another thread through this episode was the idea of abuse of power, or gapjil. There’s Dan-ah, subject to her father’s whims; Dan-ah ordering Mr. Jung and Mi-joo around; Sun-kyum’s dad unilaterally starting a regional team for Sun-kyum’s students; Dan-ah ordering Young-hwa to her office to paint. (And those scenes where Dan-ah orders those “below” her to smile have to be commentary about when male bosses do it to women, right? I loved that.) The idea of power, who wields it, and the way it operates not just in professional but personal relationships is so central to this show, and I love the various ways characters wrestle with it. This drama really goes there in a way a lot of others don’t—it gets into the tough stuff, and I appreciate that so much.

But! A large part of this episode was just Mi-joo and Sun-kyum being adorable, and it’s exactly the oasis my stressed-out life needs right now. How are these two so sweet without ever once making me feel as though I’m drowning in sugar? I’m not one for the ultra-sweet romances, so I often find myself cooling down right when a couple heats up, but I find these two unbearably cute in every scene. Them petting each other’s hair and saying, “You’re so good” to each other made me grin like a fool. I can’t get enough of their little smiles of delight when they’re together, and the way they tease each other, like Sun-kyum playing keep-away with the book, just kills me dead. With me basically having the same real-life job as Mi-joo right now, I think I’m identifying with her to an unhealthy degree. Will Sun-kyum be the K-drama lead who finally ruins me for real men? Ah, who cares. On to the next episode!

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A couple of thoughts:
1) This drama is now about the evolution of Dan-Ah; which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Just not what was originally billed.

2) I can't make up my mind whether I like the writer distancing our OTP or not since they've started dating. It's really cool that they are their own people and have not let their relationship consume them. That said, I was really really looking forward to fluttery love moments between them. It's probably my own fault though because this drama wasn't billed for that either.

3) Along that same line, there's a lot of different plot lines at work here: (1) finding new careers for everyone; (2) love stories for everyone; (3) family drama(s); and (4) the list goes on. I don't know how it all could be shown if the writer focused heavily on the OTP romance.

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To your first point, I agree, as of now, Dan Ah is leading our leads in the interesting and plot category. I feel like she's a lot more interesting than Mi Joo because the show has done a lot to really develop her personality by showing her personal, work, and love life.

I wish the drama kind of delved into Mi Joo's story too, just because, out of all the leads, I feel like her background fall a bit flat. I don't need a typical sob story (show wouldn't do that anyway) but I'd like to see more than little references to what made Mi Joo the woman she is today.

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Have also been waiting for more elaboration of Mi-joo's past. The glimpses we had so far did paint a standard picture of candy's misery, but her remarking "I was a bad kid" makes me want to know more, and kinda expecting show to surprise us with something untypical again.

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There is a lot more to her past than just being an orphan in foster care. I wonder if the way she reacted when SK followed her in a dark path and she crumbled into a ball when she thought it was a stranger speaks to being victim of some kind of violence in the past. There was also the flashback to receiving an envelope full of money when she was still in school. What was that about? Was she abused and then paid off to be quiet? Is this what she means by being a bad kid?
I wonder if that past will come out in the conflict with Assemblyman Ki, who might dig up stuff on her to split the couple.

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The more I think about it, the more I hope the writers don't flesh out her background. Mi Joo's story is an Anne of Green Gables tale. Her story is one of triumph, not tragedy, so there's really no need to heavily focus on it. That's what Mi Joo's been telling us all along. That's she's overcome her past and is trying her hardest to love herself and lead her best life now.

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@evan85 I think you are right. In fact, I think Mi Joo has overcome her past and values herself highly, which is why she can stand up and not let anyone cower her. It is also why she gets annoyed with SK for not putting himself first

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I feel like the teaser for episode 13 might have indicated that we're going to get more on Mi-joo's past (which would be great). Though those teasers are often deceiving!

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I think Mi Joo's story is being saved for last, for the angsty impact of the last few episodes.

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We didn't get much of Danah or Younghwa in the first few episodes. So, it makes sense that they are focusing on their characters and story now that the main leads are together.

About your second point our OTP not having enough scenes together, I kinda like it that they have to make time for each other. They have to adjust their life with the addition of a partner. Unlike other dramas where their jobs act as a background detail and then disappear when the leads get together.

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It's K-drama conditioning. I'm so used to the pattern of: officially dating, cute romantic moments, noble idiocy, short-term break up, and finally reuniting. In reality, there's nothing wrong with two 30-something individuals living lives separate from each other. Mi Joo is growing her business. Seon Kyeom is starting his. The fact they'd even consider dating with all that going on is impressive and shows they're commitment to each other. Drama conditioning, however, demands cheesy moments.

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Thanks @laica for another great insight. I didn’t know that the Writer Park was KES’ assistant before. Never thought I’d thank her for the two separate lovelines we have now! But ultimately all praise to the writer for creating such characters, not just the main but including the side ones. They’re so fleshed out that you can totally imagine them having a life of their own rather than certain purposes in the drama. The different combinations have been fun to watch as well. When Yeong-hwa run off because everyone was running? So comical!

As much as I want more of SK&MJ being on the screen together, watching the life of others has been fun (except for the dads). This makes me savour the OTP’s scenes though. The movie date? The way SK reached out to MJ’s hand before the movie started?? We should have gotten a close up to that! Their cute interaction at the cafe?? 🥰🥰🥰 I’m in love with them falling inlove.

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I just want to give a shout out to jealous sun kyum who is so ADORABLE!!

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Indeed, he is! ISW plays SK amazingly well!

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Our OTP remains adorable without being cheesy or OTT 💕😍 I love how despite having only a few scenes, each character brings something to the table. I look forward to different character combinations every episode and they deliver it every time.

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I'm really adoring this drama and it's characters,that they aren't over the top or cartoonish but feel like real people...Much to say but gonna resume at saying that Sun-kyum is really really charming,i might have a slight crush on him...

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First of all, thanks so much for your recap and comments. I luuuuuuuuuuuv them!!

Second, SeonGyeom smile will also be the death of me. We’re three now (I have the feeling the number will increase, though).

Random things I loved:

The running away scene, I almost fell from my couch laughing. It reminded me of that scene in The Bachelor, with Chris O’Donnell running in front of dozens of crazy brides.
YoungHwa reluctantly asking TaeWoo for an autograph. And then for a second one.
Every single moment SeonGyeom and MiJoo are together.
Every single moment DanAh and YoungHwa are together.
SeonGyeom being a little jealous about WooShik and MiJoo’s bonding (and the very honest conversation they had before).
Secretary Jung sharing pictures of his cat with MiJoo to DanAh’s astonishment.
Every single moment DanAh and MiJoo are together.
Every single moment SeonGyeom and YoungHwa are together.

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The relationships in this one are sooo good. And you and @laica are right about Sun-kyum. Both his sweetness and his smile are killers.

I laughed until I cried when Young-hwa asked for the second autograph.

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"YoungHwa reluctantly asking TaeWoo for an autograph. And then for a second one."
And then telling him he should work harder because neither he nor SK know him!! lol..

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It’s small but perfect scenes like this that I really enjoy. And this drama is filled with them!

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Haha, that was one of the best lines of the drama so far - a momentary flash forward to "Grumpy Old Men," the two of them. 😂

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Tae-woong also asked for the correct spelling of the Alphabet's name, quite a proper idol. His and Dan-ah's family life may be messy but they sure are dedicated in their professional life...

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Other random things I loved:

- Younghwa saying 'What about me?' before running after Seongyeom.
- Mijoo and Wooshik making space for Seongyeom when he got jealous and wanted to be involved.
- Mijoo asking Danah if she is a fish? and Danah being offended that she didn't use mermaid instead of fish.
- Drunk Younghwa trying to hug Seongyeom.

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Thank you, @laica, for the recap. I really like that the project Sung-kyum takes on is helping Woo-shik back on his feet, and he takes Mi-joo along for the training. Also, Young-hwa saying 'I loved you' to Dan-ah was great - using the past tense to emphasize to DA that he was greatly wronged by her.

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Lol @laica Seon-gyeom has ruined it for all men. My friend finally watched this drama and she was saying the same thing. Seon-gyeom all the way!

Also so happy with all the interactions in this drama. Ji-hyun was so cute talking to Mijoo about his cat. >< Now I kinda want to see Dan-ah and May together. Lol that would be fun.

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Ooooh, so right! Dan-ah and May - unstoppable force and immovable object... That would be fascinating! Yes, one of my favourite things about this drama is the way all the characters are so well conceived - even the group at the movie shoot a few episodes back (who were holed up in the grot hotel till SK stepped in) were all real, believable people who added rather than detracted from the drama. Great work!

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Laica was right on point there. The interactions are more organic. I never thought of it before but the way people meet in dramas feel forced. They meet because they have to but here, it's believable to see each other.

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Also, I did a commentary for Episode 11 here if you'd like to check it out: https://youtu.be/Bf7_dB35fO4

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Dan-ah and May would cause sparks to fly! I'd love to see them fighting over Mi-joo, cause you know they would.

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Omg that's the perfect setup! Wanna see Seon-gyeom fight them too but end up getting scared coz the two are two strong

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DanAh and May together would be a total blast!

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Danah and Maeyi in a scene together!!! Yes, we definitely need them.

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I thought Mr Jung and Mi Joo giggling over his kitten was the highlight of the episode tbh. The show is really good at giving secondary and supporting characters little quirks and personality traits that make them seem more human and relatable.

That said, I agree with a commenter above that I want more Mi Joo and Seon Kyeom scenes! Now that they're dating they don't need an excuse to see each other but it seemed they saw each other more when their relationship was more ambiguous lol. I thought their movie date was full of chemistry and is proof of creating memorable scenes when they're on screen.

Seo Tae Woong is such an interesting character to me and I love seeing him, SK, and Yong Hwa on screen together. Honestly, that whole scene was comedic gold. Seems like TW has a health condition too, which is interesting as his step-sister has a heart problem. I don't think they specified what TW has but I'm a bit uncertain how I feel about the show giving 2 characters similar health problems...feels a bit unnecessary tbh.

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I'm thinking it's a hereditary disease seeing that all of them has it.

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If it skips Myung-min then the world is indeed an unfair place...

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Ain't that the truth.

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or maybe Myung-min isn't really the dad's biological kid? dun-dun-dun!

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Why is the dad not sick and stuck to bed? At least that will make Danah's life easier. The world is indeed unfair!

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SG and MJ is just so adorable together, but also with the people around them. I love that we see them not just focus on their relationship, but also on work. It is just very beautiful seeing SG stepping up for WS. Since he is unemployed it is great watching him trying different things like being personal driver, coaching and sport agent. Trying different things getting many experience is very helpful when you trying to find the next bath you wanna go. I am glad we get see their work journey too.

DH and YW have a very electric chemistry contrasting the other OTP so love them both as they both give life to this drama in different ways. Would not have been the same without them.

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His smiles will be the death of all of us! all of us..

This episode was just too good. Be it our SK wanting to constantly hold Mi Joo's hands, or him smiling a ton, or making adorable faces while a little drunk, or our 3 crazy boys running like crazy - I hit the rewind button a few times this episode!

I wasn't really into the second leads, until now. Wow, that was well done.

Thanks for the wonderful recaps. Always a pleasure to read!

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Writer Park Shi Hyun is awesome!! I think search WWW and beauty inside's writer (the drama) are both KES assistant's writer.
I can see KES banter's style with their writing.
Really loves this episode. I really love YeongHwa and DanAh dynamics, they are just sooo fierce and passionate. Different from mature and soft Mijoo and SeonGyeom.

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This episode had such a great combination of comedy, drama and romance.

As much as I love Seon-gyeom and Mi-joo together, I appreciate that the characters have lives that didn't stop because they fell in love. The romance makes me swoon, but the focus on jobs, hobbies, family and friendships keeps me riveted as well.

Another thing I love is that even the supporting characters have distinct personalities, making any combination of characters fun and interesting. See Mi-joo and Mr. Jung and the trio of Seon-gyeom, Young-hwa and Tae-woong.

I love how Woo-shik teases Seon-gyeom.

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Woo-shik is such a cuddle bug! Sun-kyum was kinda bothered seeing Woo-shik and Mi-joo checking the videos, but when he put himself in the middle, Woo-shik just straight up cuddle to him too ><

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You are so right about what you said of leads having a life (job, friends, family...) that they had to combine with their loved one. It’s so common in fiction that once the leads are together there’s nothing more that them being together, as if life was that easy...

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Yep! They keep on delivering a perfect blend of romance, angst, drama, and emotions. Love that their jobs or previous life didn't disappear just because they are so caught up in their romance.

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This episode was more about Dan-ah and Young-wha- which is a good thing, because from the beginning this was not simply a rom-com centered on an OTP. What we really have, as we have known from the beginning is a quartet- and one that even somewhat resembles a musical quartet. Because we do not have the tensions of a 'love quadrangle" we get to see our female leads forming a solid friendship and our male leads doing the same. Bonds of trust are being established among friends as well as among lovers.

Dan-ah is so strong at and yet in a helpless situation- as in when her father rewards her half-brother for his screw up by taking the charity event away from her and giving it to him 'for the good of the company'. Her high walls are not actually protecting her- and she feels that and so is open to change. I hope that she can include her younger brother in that, for both their sakes. But above all she is finally acknowledging her need for Young-wha- who has also finally taken off the rose colored glasses, taken her down from the pedestal and is finally seeing Dan-ah the person.

That was one unmistakably for real kiss which Dan-ah lays on Young-wha at the end of this episode. It may be the single most meaningful kiss ever delivered in a K-drama- because it meant so very much. It was not just courageous but represents a moment of triumph- of Dan-ah over herself. And at the same time it delivers an unmistakable message to Young-wha. It is so much more than just a gorgeous woman kissing a beautiful young man- and yet it is that too. The male equivalent of a 'squee' is to stand up and cheer, and that is exactly what I did.

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Bravo, bravo, bravo!

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Must without doubt be really frustrating,upseting and unfair how Dan Ah's Dad always takes someting precious or after she put lot of hard work to just hand it on a plate to that good for nothing just because he is a man and for the good of his company...That is always his excuse for every abuse,the well being of that darn company...Even when he faked his certificate as being the oldest child when Dan Ah was...No wonder she has so much spite and hate for that family and just as much desire to be the CEO...That man just like Seon-gyeom's Dad,think only about themselves just that the violence inflicted comes in different form but it's just as worse.

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What Dan-ah's daddy does not get is that he has finally pushed Dan-ah past the breaking point. He has lost her loyalty and her trust. Which means that from now on she will base her decisions on her own judgment about what is best both for herself and others- with Daddy having no say in the matter. You are right about his selfishness but I think that the main point is his blind foolishness.

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Run On has always been a story about these four different individual and I have become quite fond of all four of them. I don't mind that KSG and OMJ are taking a backseat to SDA and LYH in these last two episodes. How can I, when we are getting such intense and compelling scenes between them?

Being from a country that values sons over daughters, I can relate to Danah's anger and frustration. Daughters being asked to do the labour for the benefit of the incompetent sons and the overall benefit of the family is something that resonates with many women. No wonder she has learned to see every relationship in terms of business.

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You are right in how explicitly the show demonstrates the unequal treatment of daughters - and also younger sons: Dan-ah's younger half brother is nearly forgotten and certainly neglected. Perhaps it even hurts him that he has become successful through his own efforts- because that did not come through his family it does not count within the family?

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Aw, Ye-joon with his unrequited love is so sad. Somehow felt that Young-hwa's name is on the top of his prayer list...

I'd really love to have a friend like Mi-joo in my life. Her gestures to Woo-shik & Secretary Jeong showed she's such a caring soul. She seemed preoccupied with her boyfriend's (yay!) text, but she actually listened to Dan-ah's rambles, and Dan-ah definitely can learn from a thing or two from Mi-joo's attitude to life! It's also lovely seeing her being a good noona to Young-hwa and giving him very wise insights.

That ending scene, gah, Mi-joo and Young-hwa are right, Dan-ah is indeed childish! Since Young-hwa resolved to be distant, she totally tried to provoke him back to his previous attitude. Her relentlessness in poking Young-hwa made me think, ah, she is Tae-woong noona, all right ><)

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Kudos for Young-hwa for keeping it together until she didn't have any option but say out loud what she feels, that "Don't end it" feels like she was finally voicing her honest feeling to him, and herself. And that after-the-kiss confession is such a breathless moment...
(And that symbolic scene of his pencil and her pen colliding! Somehow am imaging a lot of thrown pencil before they got it right ><)

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I loved the analogy of the pen rolling to “meet” the pen.

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I felt proud of Younghwa for standing his ground and not swaying before Danah. She finally had to admit her feelings.

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Thank goodness I'm not the only one that thinks Ye-joon has unrequited love for Young-hwa! There has been so many moments where he's stared at Young-hwa and I'm thinking that it couldn't be because the drama hasn't spilled it out -_-;

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Thank you so much for the recap, Laica! You're spot-on about the character combos in this drama. It feels good to enjoy the entire episode and not just the parts involving the two OTPs being cute and romantic. I love the chase scene with Seon-kyum, Tae-woong, and Young-hwa. What an odd grouping. Hope to see them hang out one day.

I didn't realize that the writer was an assistant writer for Kim Eun-suk! I really like how the things the characters say or do or react feel like they reflect something the writer has seen or experienced before. The whole random bit about AI was a surprise since the machines taking over is one of those things that I find sometimes popping up in conversation.

It was such a surprise that subtitles can be outdated. But also not a surprise after Mi-joo explained it.

And Dan-ah's dad just giving another thing of Dan-ah's away to her not-older brother is infuriating. He did it so casually, as if he was asking her to give him a piece of gum.

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Her dad is such a work! Why his legitimate daughter can't be the CEO and only a man can be his suitor? Especially when he's incapable to do so. But it seems that's a thing only the rich know.

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In some twisted way, it seems like Seo family runs like a modern day royal.

They probably want to keep their riches and power within their own dynasty like ancient royals do -- only male heir can continue their legacy. Danah's future children won't bear the name Seo. Therefore, like the olden day princesses, her "duty" is to marry into another powerful family to create alliances.

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Im waiting for Young Hwa and Sun Kyum to take Tae Woong under their wing. That poor kid is just crying for someone to acknowledge him - the real him not what he puts out there for his fans.
This episode was soooo precious - im afraid to watch ep12 given what i saw in the trailer. But the writer has done such a stellar job with relationships and reactions, I think i can trust her. Even so, not watching ep 12 till 13 is out. I dont think i could take it.

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Talking about KES’s DNA @laica, the two parallel couple leads here remind me another equally delicious twin couples in her earlier drama On Air where the FL characters played by Soon Yoon-ah and Kim Han-neul are the rare alpha women you meet in kdrama.

There’s certainly similar vibe in the friendship between the two FLs and also the romance between the DA/YH pair and the SYA/PYH pair. When watching On Air, I can’t help but thinking SYA is playing the real life KES, haha.

As to Run On, it really excels in the “moments” and “conversation” departments that I enjoy tremendously. It’s so natural as in real life talking and interaction, comfy and intelligent plus the occasional imbued movie/cultural reference. Simply a delight!

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There was a ton of meta in On Air! I remember the SYA character even being the in-story writer of KES's real-life drama Lovers (or maybe Lovers in Paris - one of the ones starring Kim Jung-eun).

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Run On has meta too, Mi-joo and Mae-yi discussing "the stubborn male lead Tae-oh", LOL.

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That was funny 😂

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If MJ and SG were something simmering steadily to a boil, DA and YH were definitely a pressure cooker - I was just waiting for that to burst, and here we got it. I was definitely impatient up until this point, but I realized after watching that very charged ending (only about 10 times in a row) that it couldn't have happened earlier, because DA needed to see and accept some truths about herself and her feelings, and a starry-eyed YH needed to stop seeing DA as his muse. How could they ever have a real shot at anything if they both weren't seeing themselves and each other clearly?

Seeing our OTP settling into their relationship is full of the "little things" that make it so cozy and sweet. The fact that they delight so much in just being in the other's company, no matter what they're doing, delights me. It strikes me that they don't actually have a lot in common in terms of interests and hobbies but are nonetheless willing to participate in the other's to learn and show support. I like that there is no tension between them when it comes to this, and that the drama shows them doing both equally.

I can't believe we have only 2 weeks left!

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Absolutely right about sun kyum and mijoo being happy just to be in each others company. I really liked that both went to each others work place for helping them and in the process became much more familiar with their professional sides.

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Yes, they are genuinely curious about each other and what matters to the other person. It's so refreshing and respectful and just plain nice to see.

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Reading the recaps and all the comments is the biggest joy for me these days second only to watching run on. I'll not be adding anything as everyone has already said and written all the great things about the drama. So many great scenes in this episode. Love you drama!!

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Exactly.. it’s rare to see everyone in the comment sections being so unified in addressing a show like this.

Indeed it only further shows that Run On is a great drama that I feel that we all were basically praising the same but many fine points of the drama over and over again.. To the point that I (especially as I was late to join the watching party) didn’t know what I can add to the discussion anymore. Except of course, plenty of upvotes for you all guys.. 😁😁😁

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So that's why I have constantly the feeling I'm watching banters from KES dramas!!
(Though I also feel this drama is an upgrade 🙂 )

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This is the first time I love every combinations of drama characters interacting with each other. Mijoo and Sunkyum are adorable as always, their conversations are so nice and insightful. The last scene of Danah and Younghwa is sooo satisfying, it's so intense and I screamed when she kissed him lol.

On another note, I can't wait to see the four leads in one scene together.

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Mijoo talked about how AI will replace translators soon, and I just recently realized how soon it might be. I saw [jamake] cc subs often on youtube.... I thought it was a subbing team but turns out it's an AI translator service. And the translations are quite good too 😲

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I have nothing clever to add to this conversation.

But Im Shi-wan, with that big smile, at the coffee shop with that burgundy sweater. I just died at the spot.

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My God that burgundy sweater. For once he didn't look like a toddler who tried to dress like a grown-up! 😍

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This is a special thank you to "Laica" for her amazing recaps of the drama Run On. You add so much dimension and depth to a drama which I'm enjoying as much as any drama I have ever watched. I am not Korean, so your "interpretation" really explains a lot of things to do with Korean culture which I often find mysterious. It is clearly difficult for Westerners to understand the nuances of family relationships, especially as they vary so enormously from drama to drama. In some dramas, parents will literally die for their children, and in others, children are just accessories with superficial values, which increase or diminish according to their usefulness. Is this Korean reality? I really have no idea!

However, I do understand that TV dramas are not real life in Korea............but if that's all you know about Korea except in travelogues............some of the recurring themes would seem to be factual. I've been watching Kdramas for about five years now and for entertainment they are simply unbeatable. I love the way characters develop from the beginning of a drama until the end. This doesn't really happen in English dramas. Your analyses, and your colleagues', are generally as enjoyable as the drama itself, and I can't wait for your writeup on episode 12 of Run On. The father is an absolute monster and I look forward to your comments. Meanwhile, thank you very much. If you're not a published author (and I am, but NOT under this name) then you should certainly write a book. Or Two.

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Thank you for your kind comment! I am a writer, though I haven't yet published a book (unless you count a masters thesis). I'm glad you're finding the recaps so helpful. This is definitely a special drama.

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Wonderful recap as per usual, @laica! I’m so invested in these lives right now. I would hate to be in Dan-ah’s family. I hope she can break that glass ceiling they still have created for her. There is NO WAY Young Hwa is just a college guy—really, no. He’s way too emotionally mature and “gets” Dan-ah. I’ve dated college boys when I was in professional school, and NONE of them were like this—-oh, the fantasy. 😁

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Love this @laica. You add so much enjoyment to the drama with your (and the db community) comments. I am feeling that i am not wasting time watching dramas at all, given the nuances and understanding of behaviour and characters I am learning. I am also with you (and ff too) in not going for 'ultra-sweet' doses of romance in my viewing; even as i like it done in earlier episodes. Yes, i hope this drama is getting some scriptwriters learning too. the dialogue - ahh. the subtitles move too fast sometimes though. but i look forward to the recaps to get me through some of the 'cloudy' parts. (I like that comment in this section where you pointed to KES real love story? that should be LiP as the lead is an aspiring writer there. i rewatched that drama xx times. Now can't find it.)

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I just came here to say, behind every good drama there is a second lead who you ship more than the first leads :D

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I have a question for the Korean-speakers in the group. I've only started watching k-dramas at the end of December and I'm now in my 7th show. I am aware of different levels of formality within Korean culture and I wondered if anyone could comment on how Mi-joo and Sun-kyum address each other. The subtitles have them say Ms. Oh and Mr. Ki but I know they are not always correct - can someone who understands the original say anything about that? Are there times where they are less formal? Is the formal address in this context meant to show value and appreciation rather than distance?

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I'm not a native speaker, but I've studied Korean for many years, so my two cents -

They address each other formally, in this case as you say, as an act of appreciation rather than distance. They often address each other as "Oh Mi-joo shi" or "Mi-joo shi" which is not quite analagous to Mr/Ms (I think it's slightly less formal), but it's a way of showing respect for a person when you address them. I know even some married couples address each other this way, though it's not as common as couples addressing each other informally (in banmal).

The only time I've seen them drop some of that formality so far is the final scene in episode 12, which I won't spoil here.

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ah THAT scene. Very interesting...

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